Limelight? No…Spotlight!

Team Spotlight sure put some shady priests into the limelight of infamy. In McCarthy’s 2015, academy award winning film, Spotlight, The Boston Globe’s investigative journalism team of the same name looks into cases of molestation by priests in the Boston area. Because the film is based on real events, it is clear that the director and production team went to great lengths to be as accurate as possible.

It was interesting to see the dynamic between the editor and the rest of the journalistic teams, and even how they interacted together. The film showed the group dynamic to be very supportive and helpful for everyone on the staff, of course there were cliques of journalists who worked more closely together, namely team Spotlight. These investigative journalists consistently seemed more on edge than the other journalists portrayed in the film, whether it was because they were concerned with finding truth or sharing truth. This pursuit of truth was seen most when Mark Ruffalo’s character, Michael Rezendes put forth tremendous effort to try and get evidence that would support their investigation and later when he said that it was Spotlight’s responsibility to get the story out. Pursuit of truth was also often seen when Sascha Pfeiffer, portrayed by Rachel McAdams, was consistently out in the field trying to find survivors for their testimony about involvement in the priests’ molestation of minors. A third and final example of the team trying to find the truth is when they all got together in order to go through the records of priest placement and relocation so that they could compile more evidence for their story. These three examples are only somewhat representative of the great lengths the team went to in order to find the truth in order to prove their theory and make a case for the resulting lawsuit.

As aforementioned, the team made great use of survivor testimony as well as public records. However, they also sought out official documents from previous settlements made by the Boston Archdiocese which would likely prove that molestation and cover-ups occurred. These documents were then compiled, compared, and critically analyzed, which leant to the delay in the exposé’s release. Personally, I think team Spotlight was right in holding off publication until they had more facts that supported their investigation. As to whether the delay helped increase the impact of the story I do not know for sure, but I would imagine that the delays helped to increase the impact of the story, not to mention its validity given that the journalists involved went through so much trouble to ensure that they were in fact reporting the truth.

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